Restoration Tips & Notes Working with audio media (mostly tape) restoration

2015-04-04

Restoring something approaching natural colour to a 50-year-old photograph

Filed under: photography — Richard L. Hess @ 21:20

My wife has been putting together a slide show for the Aurora Historical Society and I’ve been helping with some of the photo cleanup. She did the difficult part of culling a couple of hundred images out of 10,000 that are sort-of organized by different people over many years. We came across this gem.
Maher Shoe Store after the fire

My tool of choice for most of the work is Adobe Lightroom, but I was not pleased at what it was doing on this monster. I opened the image in Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 and ultimately tried “Auto Color” and it produced this:

Maher Shoe Store after the fire

I was still a bit disappointed by the haze, but the ClearView function in DxO Digital Optics 10 has become a go-to function for this correction, although I usually use it for distant landscapes that have haze. UPDATE 2015-09-06: A dehaze function is now available in Lightroom and it is very good and similar to the DxO offering. From a workflow perspective, I will be using the LR version without looking back. Thank you, Adobe! With tweaking the slider a bit, I arrived at this:

Maher Shoe Store after the fire

Then it was back to Lightroom for the final adjustments which produced this:

Maher Shoe Store after the fire

Remember, this is what we started with (and no, I did not do the original scan):

Maher Shoe Store after the fire

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